Population and society
The Turkish population comprises more than 75 million people. The growth (1.2% between 2010 and 2015) is above average Eu, although in recent years is slowing down. The fertility rate (2.04 children per woman) is decreasing, also thanks to the higher rate of female education. In addition, the population is young (over 40% is in the zero to 24 age bracket) and about 25% is concentrated in the Marmara region in the north-western part of the country, where Istanbul and Bursa are located.
The main minority is represented by the Kurds, which are estimated between 15% and 20% of the population. They make up the majority of the population in the south-eastern area of the country, where Kurdish is the most widely spoken language. There are relevant Kurdish communities even in the major cities – the presence of Kurds in Istanbul is, for example, estimated at around three million people. According to Turkish law – which gave the concept of citizenship a civic and linguistic and non-ethnic connotation – the only minorities recognized as such are the non-Muslim minorities established by the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, i.e. Armenian, Greek and Jewish. The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the merits underlined how this restrictive interpretation could lead to a different treatment for unrecognized ethnic groups. Indeed some groups, in particular the Roma and the Kurds live in a more difficult socio-economic situation than the rest of the population and are victims of discrimination in education and in the world of work. Ongoing negotiations with the Kurdish minority have been abruptly stopped due to growing instability along the Syrian border. In particular, the Kurdish protests against the government were reignited on the occasion of the siege of the Kurdish-Syrian city of Kobane by theIs the summer of 2014. Faced by apparent inaction of the turkish government in helping the Kurdish city besieged by jihadists – and the government has equated the Kurdish movement PKK to ‘ Is the same – Turkey’s Kurdish community has protested against Ankara in Kurdish-majority cities in the south-east of the country. The ensuing clashes with the police resulted in the deaths of at least 30 people. The PKK’s retaliation was not too late, with a series of attacks on Turkish police and army in 2015.
The education sector is lagging behind on the whole, although significant progress has been made in the last decade. Compulsory education has now been increased to eight years and the Ministry of Education is planning a further extension for secondary school. Primary schooling reaches 94.9%, while secondary schooling remains slightly lower (90% for males and 87% for females in 2013). The number of students in universities has grown rapidly. In general, female literacy is lower than male literacy, although not to a large extent.
Turkey ranks 69 out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index. This value is low compared to that of neighboring countries and, in general, compared to Europe and Central Asia. Poor performance in education is one of the main factors leading to this result.
Freedom and rights
Although the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, the secular Turkish precept has entailed some restrictions for the majority of the Sunni Muslim population and for believers of other religions. On the basis of the secular state principle, women were unable to wear the veil in public universities and government offices until October 2013 (the measure readmitted men’s beards, but imposed limits on women’s freedom of clothing, reopening consequently the debate on women’s rights in the Islamic sphere). Furthermore, non-Sunni Muslims, like pupils – followers of a creed that incorporates some Sunni elements and some Shia – are not recognized. Conversely, Jewish minorities,national establishment.
Freedom of expression and of the press are guaranteed by the Constitution, but in fact compromised by some recent legislative measures. In 2004, as part of the reforms undertaken for accession to the Eu, Turkey had adopted a law that replaced detention with sanctions, in case of violations by the media. However, with the reform of the penal code of 2005, detention between six months and two years was reintroduced in case of ‘denigration of the Turkish nation’. The rule, sanctioned by article 301 of the Criminal Code, has raised repeated international criticism, since in practice it has become a tool to target journalists and writers (such as the Nobel Prize for literature Orhan Pamuk and the writer Elif Shafak), guilty of having debated openly of still unresolved issues such as the Armenian one or the treatment of the Kurdish minority. In 2014, the Turkish government was criticized by the international community for a series of actions aimed at targeting press freedom. Zaman. On the eve of the November elections, the government exerted pressure and prevented from broadcasting to various television and radio stations unfavorable to the AKP. In 2015, for the second consecutive year, the US organization Freedom House ranked Turkey among the ‘non-free’ countries regarding freedom of the press. For Turkey democracy and rights, please check homeagerly.com.
Women are still underrepresented in the country’s political life, in universities, courts and management positions. Since 1934, the year in which women acquired the right to passive electorate, the representation of women in parliament has grown modestly. The government has often come under fire for allegations against legal abortion, the imposition of separate dormitories for women and men on university campuses, the invitation to women to have at least four children and, more generally, for showing little tolerance towards social protests. During anti-government protest campaigns and in election campaigns, authorities repeatedly blocked access to the internet or social networks across the country.